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Assemb. Chad Lupinacci mulls run for Suffolk County Legislature

Assemb. Chad Lupinacci has become the second state lawmaker from Suffolk County this year looking to exit Albany.

Lupinacci, a South Huntington Republican, has screened with the Huntington Conservative Committee to run for the seat in the Suffolk Legislature being vacated by term-limited Legis. Louis D’Amaro.

Democrats have decided on Babylon Town Board member Tom Donnelly to run for the 17th legislative district seat that straddles Huntington and Babylon.

Toni Tepe, Huntington GOP chairwoman, said the town committee has not yet screened legislative candidates. But she said Lupinacci “would make an excellent candidate if he is willing to run.”

Pay may be a factor. County legislators make $101,854 a year compared with $79,500 for state lawmakers, whose salaries have not increased since 1999. A proposed raise to $110,000 for state lawmakers stalled late last year.

Lupinacci, 38, of Melville, joins Assemb. Andrew Garbarino (R-Sayville), who last month screened to run for Islip Town Board.

Others who left Albany to run for local office include former GOP Assemblyman turned Suffolk Legis. Tom Barraga, who served 24 years in Albany before doing 12 more locally, and the late Presiding Officer Lou Howard, who lasted one term in Albany before coming back.

Richard Schaffer, Suffolk Democratic chairman, said he was not concerned about a potential Lupinacci candidacy.

“I think we have the best candidate,” noting Donnelly’s six years on the town board and his service as a volunteer firefighter and former fire commissioner in Deer Park.

Rick Brand

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